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Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference

May 9, 2017

Teach Like a Champion: Organizing and managing technique

 

A common challenge in any classroom is a lack of discipline and how this has an impact on classroom organization and management. Lack of these two essentials in a Foundation Phase class causes anxiety, stress and reduced confidence in both teacher and learners.

 

Mrs. Xinwa’s plea for help in this regard had her working alongside me (Avryl Smith, Edupeg Foundation Mentor) in trying to regain her confidence and thereby maximizing the time she spent with her learners in her classroom at Mngcunube Primary School, KwaNobuhle, Eastern Cape.

 

She had recently been appointed to Grade 3 and was not familiar with simple techniques to facilitate a good learning environment or the developmental needs of small learners and how they blossom when given simple responsibilities.

 

 

We instituted the formation of groups, named these groups and designated each learner a number, 1 to 6.  These groups were to be maintained for the year. Each day one of the numbered learners from each group was the leader for that day. The tasks of handing out and collecting resources fell to these few learners each day, thereby encouraging responsibility, sharing and a sense of pride in that each learner gets a turn in rotation. These learners were also responsible for handing out, counting and storing all utensils used in the feeding scheme. This system immediately gave a sense of order, and anticipation as learners awaited their turn to be leaders in the coming days. They remind their teacher if she forgets to appoint the leaders each day!

 

Mrs. Xinwa also found that be having her cupboards and desk tidy, she and the leaders were able to immediately source anything that was needed for the day. De-cluttering and tidying classroom spaces was a major goal we set. 

Resources ready to be distributed to groups by leaders

 

Her comments, in her reflective journal, express the feelings of relief that she experienced when she saw these small changes could bring such a big difference to her day and the learners’ experience of the day at school.

 

Some of her comments in her Edupeg journal reflect her feeling:

“My mentor came at a challenging time and made everything positive.“


“I go home stress free and not exhausted like before I met her.”

 

“Everybody has a role to play in the class and this leads to co-operation. We are like a family“.

 

“They all feel valuable and do their chores confidently.”

 

“Edupeg brought lifetime solutions.”

 

 “I can’t wait to attend the next workshop.”

 

I feel that much of what Mrs Xinwa has implemented and the attitude that she displays can be attributed to her thirst for knowledge and willingness to implement and maintain consistency in her classroom management. After attending the first workshop she asked for the “Teach Like a Champion” book to be emailed to her. She has read ahead and is always keen for knowledge.

 

She loves writing in her Edupeg reflective journal which she regards as a way of documenting her journey.

These techniques, highlighting the” management and organization” of her classroom, amongst others that I have observed, is making a significant difference to the learning environment and learner’s performance.

 

These simple techniques to organize and manage her class prove that “Small changes can make a big difference.”

 

This is a good example of what can be achieved when someone is open to learning and being mentored.

We need many, many more Mrs Xinwa’s in South Africa!

 

  

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